I moved this weekend. Moving is the epitome of change. I moved from a loft in downtown Denver to a small home in the suburbs. (still close to the city)
I moved to the burbs for my girls. We now live on a park. There are 4 swimming pools, two of them have diving boards. The experience of living in the burbs is very different than living in the city.
At the core of my decision was change. I wanted to change the living environment for my daughters. To facilitate this change, I chose a house instead of a loft. I pay more per month. Pools are closer than restaurants. Driving happens more than walking. I did a lot of different things to make the change happen. All my buying decisions were driven by change.
Change is at the core of selling. A successful sale can not happen unless change is embraced, understood and valued. By definition, sales IS change. Our customers are looking for something different when they are buying. When our customers and prospects are buying, they are saying they want something different, they need a change.
Sometimes change is easy. The change is clear, well thought out and everyone is ready for it. Similar to my decision to move. In complex selling situations however, there is nothing easy about the change. Not everyone embraces the change. For some, the change is not clear. For others, the reason for the change isn’t obvious. For even others, how the change will occur is unknown. In complex selling environments everyone has to embrace change inorder for the sale to close.
Few sales training programs embrace this reality. Rarely does sales training teach us to be aware of change in the selling process. We are rarely schooled on how to manage change in the selling cycle. Not knowing how change affects the selling process is often at the heart of lost deals.
To successfully sell we have to understand what our prospects and customers are looking to change. We have to understand why they want to change. We have to understand their motivations. We have to help them understand what the change means and how it will happen. We have to ease their anxiety over the change. We have to determine the impact of the change. We have to prepare them to handle the changes etc. Without a command of the change process sales won’t happen.
If you are selling and aren’t paying attention to change, you are doing it the hard way. Change is at the core of selling.
- Have a clear understanding of what your customer/prospect is trying to change, not what they want to buy
- Understand the motivations for the change
- Identify those who support the change vs. those who do not
- Understand why those who are resisting DON’T want want change
- Provide a clear vision of why the change is good.
- Be prepared to help MANAGE the change
- Support the change process
Sharon Drew Morgan is the expert on selling and change. Her book, Dirty Little Secrets is a good read on how to incorporate change management into your selling process. You can also check out her blog here.